Swift SZ5 1.2 Dualjet SHVS AllGrip
hatchbacks with all-wheel
drive are few and far between,
but if youre interested then look no
further than your nearest Suzuki
dealer not only does the Suzuki
Swift fit the bill but it comes with
HYBRID POWER, YES; but it's not a full-blown hybrid. The Swift's SHVS
'mild' hybrid is a cleverly simple piece of tech that adds just 6.2kg to the
overall weight and using electricity generated through regenerative braking
drives a small electric motor to assist the 88bhp 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine
when pulling away or going for an overtake.
However, the main benefit here isn't so much the power boost but the improvement
to fuel economy: officially the Swift Dualjet SHVS returns a respectable 49.7mpg
in the Combined Cycle but without even trying to drive economically we logged
an impressive 55.7mpg during our week-long test in messy traffic over mixed
roads. And a parsimonious best of 63.9mpg!
it comes to street cred the compact Swift has more than enough zing to hold
its own black wheelarch inserts and smart alloys give emphasis to its
wheel-at-each-corner look while the distinctive blacked-out C-pillar treatment
(incorporating high-mounted rear door handles) creates a 'floating' roof. Muscular
rear haunches enhance the sporty stance while at the front-end the wraparound
windscreen, deep hexagonal grille, and bold headlights make for a thrusting
to take advantage in city
traffic or to breeze along
motorways at the legal
limit, the Swift always
And with permanent four-
wheel drive, its up for
it whether youre
threading along tricksy
tracks or sticking to
tarmacadam. Plus the
manual box benefits
from a gearlever with a
short, accurate throw,
making it a pleasure to
keep the engine in its
Swift's normally-aspirated four-cylinder 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine makes
just 88bhp but boosted by the SHVS electric motor and backed up by 88lb ft of
torque it delivers enough poke to take quick advantage of gaps in city traffic
or to breeze along motorways at the legal limit (top speed is 105mph).
And given that it's also equipped with all-wheel drive, it's up for it whether
you're threading along tricksy tracks or sticking to tarmacadam. The manual
five-speed 'box benefits from a gearlever that's not only close to hand but
features a short, accurate throw, making it a pleasure to keep the engine in
its sweet spot. It's also pretty refined, even when you're piling on the revs.
For the record, 0-62mph takes 12.6 seconds.
Size-wise the Swift fits the conventional footprint of a supermini, occupying
a mere 3.8-metres of road. However, while small on the outside it's surprisingly
accommodating on the inside. There's a sporty air to the cabin and dash and
some upscale finishing such as the sparkling pearl white trim accents on the
dash and doors, making for a refreshing contrast to the charcoal-grey trim.
A multi-function, flat-bottomed steering wheel does more than just look the
part; it feels great in your hands and the girth of the leather-wrapped rim
is finger-comfortable on long journeys.
The shapely, black fabric-upholstered seats are lightly bolstered and do a decent
job of keeping you in place, slow and fast. And there's loads of room for your
front passenger to stretch out and relax. There's even enough space between
the front chairs to avoid any elbow clashes. A fist of headroom seals the deal,
ensuring even tall passengers will feel at home.
the driver it's all win-win: not only is the driving position spot-on but there's
excellent forward visibility courtesy of a tall, wide windscreen and slim A-pillars
and a rear screen that's deep and wide so no worries about parking or reversing
because you also get a reversing camera and rear parking sensors. And while
it might not be sexiest part of the car, the rear screen's wash/wipe will be
much appreciated on those not-so-rare rainy days.
comms are homed in the large seven-inch infotainment and navigation touchscreen
sited in dash-central. It's intuitive to use and incorporates SatNav with pin-sharp
3D mapping that makes landmarks easy to identify; the navigation is foolproof
with quick destination entry and very helpful auto-zoom lane guidance, plus
the posted speed limit is clearly shown on active maps.
you would expect, a DAB radio (with four speakers plus two tweeters) is standard-fit
as too are Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone integration
so you can, in addition to making calls, also receive directions for optimised
traffic conditions, listen to music, and access email and text messages. You
also get voice control for the phone, navigation and media so, for example,
you can activate a call, enter an address, and play a track by title or artist.
ride is as good as
youll find in the likes of
a Fiesta or Polo. In other
words the suspension
soaks up the lumps and
making progress over
most blacktop fairly
fluent despite the ride
being a tad on the firm
side but then there
Overall its a perfectly
acceptable trade-off that
adds a large dollop of
joyfulness to the
The driver also benefits from circular, trad-style white-on-black dials, each
set in their own nacelles and angled towards the driver for maximum clarity.
Between them is a 4.2-inch multi-information LCD colour display that shows a
range of information including engine output and torque data, fuel consumption,
average speed, acceleration and brake operation as well as driving G-force tracking.
For the Hybrid, an energy flow diagram is also included. All of it is quickly
accessed and scrolled through using the 'Info' button on the multifunction wheel.
Kit levels are high and include keyless entry and start with a Start/Stop engine
button, heated powerfolding door mirrors, automatic AirCon with pollen filter,
electric windows, green tinted glass with privacy rear cab glazing, a spoiler,
and 16-inch polished alloy wheels.
It's also well specced when it comes to safety. For a start there's Suzuki's
Advanced Forward Detection System that will both warn the driver and brake autonomously
to apply full braking if it senses a collision is unavoidable. Unlike some similar
systems in other small cars, the Swift's set-up works up to 62mph rather than
only at town speeds.
addition you get lane departure alert (come out of your lane without indicating
and you'll get a visual and physical warning), a weaving alert (a wake-up call
for drowsy drivers), electronic stability programme that cuts in if the car
begins to skid, adaptive cruise control and, of course, the four-wheel drive.
Equally essential are items such as the height-adjustable front seatbelts, front,
side and curtain airbags, LED projector headlamps (with automatic dip/main beam
switching), LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps, LED rear combination
lamps, and tyre pressure monitoring.
chest-height rear door handles in the C-pillars are convenient and the wide-opening
back doors ensure easy in/outs. Once in, headroom in the back is far better
than you would expect from outside: there's almost a fist of it; settle on the
rear bench and you'll have a several inches of air above the crown of your head.
Add to that deep side glazing, adequate knee-room even when sat behind
a tall driver or front passenger and plenty of space for even size eleven
Small bottles can be carried in the rear door bins (larger ones in the deep
door pockets up front) and there's a pouch on the front seatback for oddments.
While there's no central armrest, the slim outer ones are fine and gel nicely
with the comfortable backrest angle. Passengers will be pleasantly surprised
at just how restful it is travelling in the back of the Swift. Usefully, and
also somewhat unexpected, three teens can be strung out side-by-side.
ride is as good as you'll find in the likes of a Ford Fiesta or VW Polo. In
other words, the suspension soaks up the lumps and bumps effectively, making
progress over most blacktop fairly fluent despite it being a tad on the firm
side but then there are the compensating handling dividends. Overall
it's a perfectly acceptable trade-off that adds a large dollop of joyfulness
to the driving experience and few Swift drivers would have it any other
way. The alloys are wrapped in 185/55 Bridgestone rubber that helps cushion
the worst bumps and ridges, and while you will hear the occasional thud of a
pothole the ride is calm and satisfyingly fluent at steady speeds on major roads.
Definitely a car for both commuting and country escapes.
into a testing bend or
corner and youll relish
the nimbleness and
liveliness that comes
from its lightweight new-
generation platform and
bodyshell the SZ5
AllGrip weighs-in at less
than a tonne.
Courtesy of its fully
automatic and permanent
4X4 system theres
plenty of grip too.
Very reassuring not just
off-road but in everyday
driving, and especially
when the roads are
blanketed in that fluffy
we all love to hate...
Throw the Swift into a testing bend or corner and you'll relish the nimbleness
and liveliness that comes from its lightweight new-generation platform and bodyshell
the SZ5 AllGrip weighs-in at under a tonne: 980kg.
Courtesy of the 4X4 system, there's plenty of grip too: the fully automatic
permanent four-wheel drive layout sends additional torque to the rear wheels
whenever it's needed.
All very reassuring not just off-road but in everyday driving too, and especially
when the roads are blanketed in that fluffy white powder we all love to hate.
in minimal body roll and responsive steering that's quick to respond (plus light
enough for undemanding in-town manoeuvring) and which weights-up reassuringly
as the speed rises, and you have a puntably petite car that's keen to serve
up genuine driving entertainment. Helped out by a raised ride height the AllGrip
copes well with mud, wooded tracks and slippery hillsides as it happens,
you'll be pleasantly impressed by just how capable the Swift is 'on safari'
in the British Isles.
You don't buy a supermini for its boot. That said, the Swift's 265-litre 'trunk'
has more than enough to take four peoples' carry-on cases. A high-opening tailgate
and rear parcel shelf-style load cover makes for hassle-free access. Drop the
60:40-split rear seatbacks (helpfully they fold flat) and this balloons to 579
litres. You do have to load over a sill with a deep-ish drop to the boot floor
but it's not a problem; and with the rear seats folded there's a step-up to
the forward-end of the loadbay area. Again, not a problem and also not something
you won't find in other cars in this class. And the good news? Despite its small
size, the 1.2-litre Swift will tow a braked 1,000kg.
Appealing outside and with a smartly fitted-out interior that's unexpectedly
spacious, the Swift is grippy, nippy and fun to punt. Unlike some, this supermini
doesn't force you to choose between driving entertainment and economy because
it freely gives you both. Another corking good drive from Suzuki! ~ MotorBar
Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet SHVS SZ5 AllGrip
Maximum speed: 105mph | 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds | Test Average: 55.7mpg
Power: 88bhp | Torque: 88lb ft | CO2: 128g/km